Lithuanian Fourteen Layer Honey Cake

Honey Cake

No birthday, Christmas, Easter, Christening or Wedding goes without this delectable layer cake in Lithuania! Made with ten everyday ingredients and no special equipment (not even a cake tin), this Honey cake is a simple, yet impressive looking cake that even beginners can make! I am sharing my mother’s recipe for the most delicious Lithuanian Honey Cake with fourteen layers!

Honey cake is probably the most popular cake in all of Eastern Europe. Medaus Tortas in Lithuania, Medovník in the Czech Republic, Meekook in Estonia and Medovik in Russia, each country has its own version of Honey Cake with minor differences, but essentially it is a cake made with biscuits soaked in tea, layered with sweet lemony creme fraiche.

Whilst this Honey Cake looks rather impressive when you cut into it, with all the thin layers of cake and cream, it is actually very easy to make. You don’t even need a cake tin! The dough for this cake resembles biscuit dough, which is then rolled out, cut into large circles, baked and then soaked in tea to soften before assembling.

Honey Cake

Biscuit layers certainly make this cake very special. Because the dough is firm, you can pack in a lot of flavours into it without worrying that your cake won’t rise in the oven. Since you’re essentially making biscuits, you can put in lots of spices and honey. Don’t worry, when you see your baked rounds, they will feel hard and biscuity. But once you’ve soaked them in tea and leave them assembled with cream overnight, they will be soft and infused with all the lovely flavours of the tea.

There are threee steps to making this delicious LIthuanian Honey Cake:

  1. Make and bake the biscuits
  2. Make the lemony creme fraiche cream
  3. Assemble

You can certainly make the whole cake in one day, but I personally like to bake the biscuits on Day 1, then make the cream and assemble it on Day 2. IMPORTANT: you MUST leave this cake in the fridge for at least 12 hours after it’s been assembled. The layers need time to amalgamate and the biscuit layers to soak up the moisture from the cream. So on Day 3 (and Day 4, and sometimes Day 5), we eat it!


Step-by-Step Recipe for Lithuanian Honey Cake:

Place butter and honey in a large bowl and set it over the pot of simmering water. Make sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water though. Stirring continuously, heat until the butter melts. Take the mixture off of the heat, stir in the sugar and leave to cool down.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg and creme fraiche. Add this mixture to the cooled butter-honey.

Sift the flour and the baking powder into the liquid mixture and using your hands bring it into a dough. Knead just enough to bring it together to a cohesive dough, cut it in 3, flatten and wrap in cling film (we recommend Kirkland Signature cling film). Place the dough in the fridge for 1 hour.

Roll each piece of dough into a thin layer. Take a round plate/bowl – we used one 17cm in diameter (try and roll it into a shape that allows you to cut 3 disks).

Bake each disk for about 8-10 min at 170°C Fan. You may need to do it in 2-4 batches depending on how much oven space you have and how large your disks are. Let them cool completely before assembling the cake. Bake any rolled dough offcuts (you will crush them and use them to decorate). Once cooled, you can wrap them in clingfilm and store them for up to 3 days until you’re ready to assemble. Alternatively, you can use them as soon as they are cooled to room temperature.

Make the Cream:

Place the full-fat creme fraiche and sugar in a large bowl. Using a hand-held mixer (we use Kenwood), whisk the cream to soft peaks. If you don’t have one, you can whisk the creme fraiche by hand, but it will take longer. Then add the zest and juice of a large lemon and whisk for another couple of minutes.

Assemble the Honey Cake:

Prepare a cup of strong black tea and let it cool completely (we used Earl Grey, but you can use any other black tea you like – Chai adds a lovely aromatic spice twist to the cake).

Start by placing a biscuit disk on a plate. Deliberately brush it with cooled tea (use about 2-3 tbsp of tea per disk). Spread about 2 tbsp of the cream on top. Place the next disk on top and press down slightly (but take care not to squirt the cream underneath out of the sides). Drizzle with tea again, then spread the cream. Repeat until you’ve used up seven biscuit discs (you will use the rest to decorate). You should be left with quite a bit of the cream. Spread the cream all around the sides of the cake to create a smooth edge.

Crush the rest of the biscuits with your hands into crumbs. Or simply place pieces in a food processor/ smoothie maker/ liquidiser to create crumbs. Scatter spoonfuls of the crumbs all over the top and the sides of the cake, pressing with your hands for them to stick. You may choose to decorate it with some piped dark chocolate or fresh berries.

Refrigerate for at least 12 hours before cutting into the cake. Enjoy!

Honey Cake

For other celebratory baking ideas, we have put together the list below of our favourite very special festive bakes:

Honey Cake

Lithuanian Fourtneen Layer Honey Cake

My mother's recipe for the most delicious Lithuanian Honey Cake with fourteen layers. No birthday, Christmas, Easter, Christening or Wedding goes without this delectable layer cake in Lithuania! Made with ten everyday ingredients and no special equipment (not even a cake tin), this Honey cake is a simple, yet impressive looking cake that even beginners can make!
4 from 2 votes
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 40 mins
Chilling Time: 12 hrs
Total Time 1 hr 40 mins
Course Baking, Desserts
Cuisine Eastern European, Lithuanian
Servings 8 -10 portions
Calories 424 kcal

Equipment

  • Hand-Held Mixer (optional)
  • Food Processor/ Blender (optional)

Ingredients
 
 

For Biscuit Disks:

  • 110 g unsalted butter
  • 125 g runny honey
  • 50 g light brown sugar
  • 50 g caster sugar
  • 1 egg medium
  • 30 g creme fraiche
  • 400 g plain white flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 180 ml strong black tea (we used Earl Grey) cooled

For the Cream Layers:

  • 1 lemon large
  • 500 ml full-fat creme fraiche
  • 75 g caster sugar

For Decorating:

  • 50 g dark chocolate optional

Instructions
 

Make the Biscuit Disks:

  • Place butter and honey in a large bowl and set it over the pot of simmering water. Make sure the bottom of the bowl doesn't touch the water though. Stirring continuously, heat until the butter melts. Take the mixture off of the heat, stir in the sugar and leave to cool down.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk the egg and creme fraiche. Add this mixture to the cooled butter-honey mixture.
  • Sift the flour and the baking powder into the liquid mixture and using your hands bring it into a dough. Knead just enough to bring it together to a cohesive dough, cut it in 3, flatten and wrap in cling film. Place the dough in the fridge for 1 hour.
  • Roll each piece of dough into a thin layer. Take a round plate/bowl – we used one 17cm in diameter (try and roll it into a shape that allows you cut 3 disks).
  • Bake each disk for about 8-10 min at 170°C Fan. You may need to do it in 2-4 batches depending on how much oven space you have and how large your disks are. Let them cool completely before assembling the cake. Bake any rolled dough offcuts (you will crush them and use them to decorate).
    Once cooled, you can wrap them in clingfilm and store for up to 3 days until you're ready to assemble. Alternatively, you can use them as soon as they are room temperature.

Make the Cream:

  • Zest and juice the lemon. Place the full-fat creme fraiche and sugar in a large bowl. Using a hand-held mixer (or by hand), whisk the cream to soft peaks. Then add the zest and juice of a large lemon and whisk for another couple of minutes.

Assemble the Honey Cake:

  • Prepare a cup of strong black tea and let it cool completely.
  • Start by placing a biscuit disk on a plate. Deliberately brush it with cooled tea (use about 2-3 tbsp of tea per disk). Spread 2 tbsp of the cream on top. Place the next disk on top and press down slightly (but take care not to squirt the cream underneath out of the sides). Drizzle the top with tea, then spread the cream. Repeat until you used seven biscuit discs. You should be left with quite a bit of the cream. Spread the cream on top and all around the sides of the cake.
  • Crush the rest of the biscuits with your hands into a crumbs. Or you can simply place pieces in a food processor/ smoothie maker/ liquidiser. Scatter spoonfuls of the crumbs all over the top and the sides of the cake, pressing with your hands for them to stick. You may choose to decorate it with some piped dark chocolate or fresh berries.
  • Refrigerate for at least 12 hours before cutting into the cake. Enjoy!

Nutrition

Calories: 424kcalCarbohydrates: 74gProtein: 6gFat: 12gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 50mgSodium: 66mgPotassium: 100mgFiber: 2gSugar: 35gVitamin A: 376IUVitamin C: 7mgCalcium: 53mgIron: 3mg
Keyword Honey Cake, Honey Cake Recipe, Honey Cake Recipe UK, Honey Cake Recipes, Layer Cake with Honey, Lithuanian Honey Cake, Lithuanian Honey Cake Recipe, Lithuanian Medaus Tortas, Medaus Tortas, Medaus Tortas Recipe
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Honey Cake

2 Replies to “Lithuanian Fourteen Layer Honey Cake”

  1. 4 stars
    the biscuits themselves were DELICIOUS, they turned out so tasty, the texture was great and after they soaked up the tea overnight it mixed beautifully with the subtle flavor of the honey <3 i had some issues with the creme tho- no matter what I did, it refused to thicken! I left it in my stand mixer for quite a while, and when it wouldn't stiffen I even added some additional confectioners sugar, but it still remained runny! I ended up replacing it with a similar lemon icing, but I'm not sure what went wrong :/ very pleased with the cakes themselves tho, I was so eager to try this recipe after reading about it!!!

    1. Thanks for the feedback! 🙂 I’m glad to hear you liked the biscuits and such a shame about the cream! It is not a very thick mixture when I do it myself, but spreadable nonetheless. If you ever make it again, you can try it with double cream – it will definitely whisk up better and taste very similar!

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